Separated from the peninsula of Charleston by the Ashley River and the mainland by the Stono River, James Island is an urban sea island boasting an eclectic mix of old homes and modern builds; a short drive to Folly Beach and downtown; as well as some of the most affordable real estate among peninsula-bordering areas of town. It offers a range of neighborhoods, from those off Harborview and Folly Roads to Riverland Terrace, which, founded in the 1940s, is one of the oldest on the island and features streets lined with 100-year-old oak allées. With a farmers’ market Sunday mornings, lush parks, a bevvy of restaurants, and more, James Island is a centrally located area popular among families of any age.
Notable Homes and Buildings: The recently renovated 1851 McLeod Plantation Historic Site sits on James Island just across the Ashley River from downtown and is an impressively preserved 37-acre Gullah/Geechee heritage site. In terms of Civil War history, the first shot of the Civil War was fired at Fort Johnson, located on the eastern part of James Island.
Things to Do: Visit James Island County Park for shady bike paths and running trails, a fishing dock, stunning marsh views, a kids zone and water park, climbing wall, and expansive dog park. Watch a new day begin and score sweeping views of Charleston at Demetre Park (AKA sunrise park), catch live music at The Pour House or How Art Thou Jazz Club, grab a craft brew at The Barrel (which triples as a music venue and dog park, too), see a new flick at The Terrace theater, or spend a day reaching new heights at Wild Blue Ropes Adventure Park.
Neighborhood Restaurants: Riverland Terrace offers a number of dining options, including Zia Taqueria, Crust Wood Fired Pizza, The Lot, and Maybank Public House. Other great options are located throughout James Island, such as Baguette Magic, Sermet’s Southernterranean, Roadside Seafood, Bohemian Bull, Tattooed Señorita, The Fat Hen, Ellis Creek Fish Camp, and Scram Food Truck (which sets up shop in the Food Lion parking lot off Folly Road). For local coffee, head to Muddy Waters at the corner of Folly Road and Maybank Highway.